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NHS needs investment

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

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IN one of his fortnightly letters to the Journal in mid January, and again in the paper's February 13 coverage of protests regarding Torrington Hospital, Geoffrey Cox demonstrates the staggering hypocrisy which seems to characterise the Tory MP take on the NHS.

Cox's party is overwhelmingly responsible for the so-called reforms and huge budget cuts leading to the closure of many services in the NHS, including closure of local hospitals. Closing cottage hospitals is not rationalising, it is a change of policy.

Cottage hospitals were intended to provide move-on beds, minor injuries treatment in the daytime and outpatient clinics. Their existence was recognition that a journey to the main hospital was expensive, time consuming and, without a car, impossible for some.

We are being told that there will be replacement community care but they are being closed even before this is properly secured. Local residents are rightly concerned. So here we see Mr Cox jumping on the bandwagon by protesting that Torrington should never have been selected for closure, but given the strictures placed on the NHS by his Government it seems they have little choice.

Clause 118, which Jeremy Hunt is hurrying through parliament, will ensure that hospitals like Torrington will get even less chance of protest than now, yet here we see Cox acting like he was never part of it.

Almost 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street, and one in 10 hospitals in England are understaffed. Yet the NHS is being asked to find £20 billion of "efficiency savings" by the end of 2015.

Hospitals need more investment, more doctors, and more nurses – not cuts. However, it's not just the Government: Labour signed off 100 NHS Private Finance Initiative schemes, valued at £11 billion. Most contracts for health services are now owned offshore, meaning the profits are beyond the reach of British tax collection.

ROSEMARY HAWORTH-BOOTH,

North Devon Green Party.

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